Creating greater food access and equity one donation at a time
Since we opened the first New Seasons Market store opened in 2000, our Hunger Partner program has allowed customers to donate any amount at checkout year-round to support the hunger relief efforts of local organizations. To kick off 2022, we updated the Hunger Partner program for the first time since its founding, moving from one lifetime partner per store to supporting 10 organizations to serve as beneficiaries for a two-year term. This shift comes as we recenter our community investment and engagement work to focus on food access and racial equity. Learn more about our current partners below.
In 2021, the Hunger Partner program raised over $106,000 in customer donations for local non-profits including food pantries, home garden programs, and services providing meals for homebound seniors. In addition to these donations, we hosted two annual fundraising events at the register to benefit hunger relief organizations—Hunger Relief Match and 8 Days of Kindness. Together, these fundraisers collected an additional $270,000 in donations to advance food access and equity in local communities, bringing our total impact to over $377,000.
Blanchet House provides support to Portland’s houseless population with food, clothing, shelter and medical assistance.
Clackamas Service Center is an inclusive community center for individuals and families seeking food relief and resources for improved health, dignity and stability.
Equitable Giving Circle builds immediate and increased equity throughout Portland’s BIPOC communities through a combination of fund development and network building opportunities.
Feed The Mass was founded on the belief that everyone deserves access to reliable, high-quality nutrition, while seeking to enrich and connect our community through food.
Feed’em Freedom Foundation creates educational pipelines to agriculture for Black & BIPOC youth through Land Stewardship & Regional Food Security response.
Growing Gardens uses the experience of growing food in schools, backyards and correctional facilities to cultivate healthy and equitable communities.
HomePlate Youth Services supports the positive development of youth experiencing homelessness or housing instability through community building, education and empowerment.
Oregon Food Bank strives to eliminate hunger and its root causes by working across systems, and centering racial and social justice in everything they do.
Share pursues a stronger community by building relationships, advocating for equitable access to housing and food stability, while empowering every individual to grow and thrive.
Read more from our partners at Centro Cultural:
In the words of Maria Caballero Rubio, Executive Director, Centro Cultural
Centro Cultural was started by a group of migrant farmworkers who settled here in Washington County. I include myself because my family was a part of that. We were migrant farmworkers and we moved here from California. Others came from Texas, Arizona, New Mexico—all over those areas.
During that time, people would uproot their families, and travel as a family, to harvest crops. Kids missed out on school. We were pulled out of school in March and we typically didn’t get back to our home base until November. For that reason and others, the federal government started programs to get migrant families to settle in one place— to get a job, to have their kids finish their school years, etc. That is the context for how folks moved here and stayed here in Washington County, particularly migrant farmworkers. There were 14 families here in those early years. We were the only Latino families in the county who were kind of a group. There were other Latino families, I’m sure, previous to that, but these were migrant farmworker families gathering together and meeting regularly. They rented an old building and they’d meet to socialize, to help each other out. That kind of thing.
Over the years, needs grew because more and more people were settling here and maintaining their farm work. At one point, the families organized and were able to form a 501c3 (Centro Cultural). That was in 1972. Today, I’m the executive director of Centro Cultural and I’ve been here since 2015. When I came to Centro, they had a staff of maybe five or six people. Only two were full-time. We’ve grown over the past seven years and we’re now at 70 staff, with 60 full-time and 10 on-call.
Centro provides all kinds of services. Whatever our community needs really. At one point, we were the information referral system for Washington County. County government didn’t have bilingual staff, so they funded Centro at around $25k per year so that they could have someone there to both compile information and refer people to our services. That really grew our reputation. People could come here, to Centro Cultural, for whatever reason to get help. After that, we moved from being an information and referral organization to actually delivering services.
Before the pandemic, we had our Centro Cultural food pantry once a month. The Food Bank would come and deliver a lot of food, and we’d pack it up and have people come in and take what they needed. We incorporated all of those generous donations from New Seasons and others. We put all of that food out and people would simply come in and take what they needed. The pandemic hit and everything shut down. We took over a couple of other pantries— one run by Virginia Garcia Memorial Health Center, another by a local church—and so, we stayed open and took over our congregate meals’ facility as a huge food pantry. Our pantry is open six days a week from 9 until 5. We’ve had people there every single day of the pandemic. We take a lot of pride in the work that we’ve done there and it’s a part of our service that’s really grown over the past couple years. I would say that on a weekly basis at our food pantry, we put together an average of 300 to 500 food bags or boxes that go on to feed upwards of 1,000 of our community members.
Thanks to New Seasons, we’re able to include fruits, vegetables, breads, and other fresh kinds of things that we don’t normally get from the government, food banks, and food pantries. Donations from New Seasons really help us put those nutritious finishing touches on what we offer our community.